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DEBBIE believes her boyfriend provoked her into violence by making her jealous. But she admits he never hit her back. She describes how manipulative she was with her partner. "I thought he had been sleeping with someone else and so when he was in bed once I lashed the duvet back and poured bleach on his genitals. I just thought he deserved it," she says.






"I've had broken ribs, I've had lots of cuts, I've had bruises, black eyes…clumps of hair would be missing where she pulled it out. I've had fingers broken. She's knocked me out once or twice," says one man. He is a nineteen stone security guard.

DISPATCHES
9pm Wednesday 6 January  Repeated at 1pm on Thursday 12 January 1999
A six foot security guard is knocked unconscious, stabbed and beaten - by his five foot high girlfriend. A weeping police officer describes how his wife tried to suffocate him with a pillow while he was sleeping. In a specially extended Dispatches reporter DEBORAH DAVIES reveals the extraordinary results of the largest ever survey of male victims of domestic violence.

Last year Dispatches exposed the truth about domestic violence against women in a survey which revealed that the law was failing to protect these women. The programme produced a flood of letters from men saying that they were victims too. Now Dispatches talks to men about why they have suffered and have no faith in the police, and to women who were violent to the partners they loved.

The proportion of male victims of domestic violence is small compared to women but the true scales of the problem is hard to assess as little research has been done about it. The Dispatches survey received responses from over 100 men. Dispatches has asked Professor KEVIN BROWNE of Birmingham University - an expert in domestic violence - to analyse its survey. The survey provides a comprehensive picture of the shocking nature and degree of violence that women are capable of on inflicting on their male partners.

Dispatches has interviewed several men who have suffered at the hands of their female partners. "I've had broken ribs, I've had lots of cuts, I've had bruises, black eyes…clumps of hair would be missing where she pulled it out. I've had fingers broken. She's knocked me out once or twice," says one man. He is a nineteen stone security guard.

Many victims describe how they have to suffer in silence, fearful no one will understand. STEVE is a site engineer. "Can you imagine going home and telling your parents that you're being abused? Can you imagine going into work - I was running jobs with 30 men. Can you imagine a man being broken down in tears sitting on a site gate crying?" he says.

The Dispatches survey reveals that the women who attack their partners are often depressed or from a violent background themselves. DEBBIE believes her boyfriend provoked her into violence by making her jealous. But she admits he never hit her back. She describes how manipulative she was with her partner. "I thought he had been sleeping with someone else and so when he was in bed once I lashed the duvet back and poured bleach on his genitals. I just thought he deserved it," she says.

Dispatches revealed last year how the law still lets down battered women. For men the situation is as bleak - because the police often assume it is the male victim who is the aggressor. A serving police officer, DAVID, who is a victim of domestic violence himself reveals how he was at an incident where the husband had been struck over the head by wife. His colleague arrested the husband, although David disagreed.

FIONA has undergone counselling for the violence she committed against her partner feels it is time the issue is addressed. "For years and years, battered women was kept behind closed doors. It's now about time it came out that men do suffer as well," she says.

The First Step Centre run a helpline for people experiencing domestic violence offering advice, information and counselling. Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 11am to 4.30pm on Saturday and 2pm to 5pm on Sunday.Freephone 0800 281 281.


Here's a follow-up story on the series:

From the London Times
6 January 1999

Women kick men when they are down
By Hannah Betts

The popular stereotype of the battered husband as a hen-pecked weakling takes a knock in a survey today.

Women attack men where and when they are most vulnerable: one third of victims featured in the survey were attacked in their sleep and a quarter kicked in the testicles. One case involved a woman pouring bleach over her sleeping boyfriend's genitals.

The survey shows that angry women can be just as violent as men. Forty per cent used some kind of weapon to compensate for their relative lack of strength: knives were the instrument of choice, but hammers, bottles and stiletto shoes also featured.

Seventy six per cent of the male victims were bigger and stronger than the women who abused them. That may also explain why 89 per cent of male victims felt that the police did not take their complaints seriously. Only 7 per cent of women abusers were arrested, but 25 per cent of male victims were themselves arrested.

The survey was conducted for the Channel 4 documentary series Dispatches and the results will be screened tomorrow. It was analysed for the programme by Kevin Browne, of Birmingham University, a consultant to the Home Office on family violence. According to the survey, most of the men were stoical in the face of violence, with only 50 per cent asking for any type of help.


  In Britain, a segment of the BBC1 show Panorama focused on woman who sexually abuse children. Here are a summary and full transcript from that broadcast.

  • United Kingdom

    Men's Advice Line & Enquiries (M.A.L.E.)
    0181 644-9914
    Monday & Wednesday 9AM to Midnight
    (answer machine all other times)
    Write to: Les Davidson
    PO Box 402, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 3TG
    "Information for and about Male Victims of Domestic Violence"


    BEYOND ALL HELP
    Comments Upon Commomly Held Unhelpful Beliefs In
    Domestic Violence; a health care issue?
    Published by the British Medical Association
    By Dr M.J.GEORGE F.R.S.A.

    A forthright criticism and deconstruction of the BMA report Domestic Violence: a health care issue? (1998) which exposes the fallacies in this potentially influential report and deconstructs the Patriarchal male dominance model of domestic violence as only committed by men against women.

    Now published by Dewar Research.

    Also published by Dewar Research is 'A Critique of Domestic Violence: a health care issue?' from a lay perspective written by David Yarwood.

    TO OBTAIN YOUR OWN COPY OF 'BEYOND ALL HELP' SEND A CHEQUE OR POSTAL ORDER FOR FIVE POUNDS (#5) TO
    DEWAR RESEARCH
    CONSTABLES
    WINDSOR ROAD
    ASCOT, BERKS
    SL5 7LF
    or for #6 pounds obtain both publications (#2 for Mr Yarwoods Critique alone). From overseas please send international money order for #10 sterling to the above address in the United Kingdom. Allow time for postal carriage.
    E-mail Dr. Malcolm George for details.

    ISBN 0 9532584 1 6

    Dewar Research is a private non profit intiative which collates information available in the public domain to encourage more informed debate about social issues. The cost of these publications is only to cover printing and distribution costs. Any profit made will go towards helping and researching male victims of domestic violence.
  •  
         

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    Check out Books for or about Battered Men.
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    Other Resources

    Domestic Violence in Washington: 25,473 Men a Year
    According to a Nov. 1998 Department of Justice report on the National Violence Against Women Survey, 1,510,455 women and 834,732 men are victims of physical violence by an intimate. In Washington, that's 42,824 women and 25,473 men. That includes 2,754 on whom a knife was used, 5,508 threatened with a knife and 11,016 hit with an object. Here are the data.

    Help for Battered Men Practical suggestions, Hotline numbers, on-line resources. Print it out and hand it to a man you think may be battered--your caring opens him up to talking about it.

    Men's Stories Here are some personal stories by battered men, and links to sites with more of them. The more we talk about it, the more we tell our stories, the more we increase public awareness that men are battered and encourage battered men to get the help they need. Send us your story, so we can post it here (anonymously, of course, unless you tell us differently.)

    What's Wrong with the Duluth Model? The "Duluth Model" is the approach most widely used for perpetrator treatment--but it gender polarizes the "people problem" of domestic violence.. What's wrong with the Duluth Model? It blames and shames men. It's based on ideology, not science. It ignores drinking, drugs and pathology. Only one cause, only one solution. There's no real evidence it works. It ignores domestic violence by women. Women who need help can't get it. It's taught by wounded healers.

    Latest Research Findings National Violence Against Women survey shows 37.5% of victims each year are men. Men are at real risk of serious physical injury. Murray A. Straus looks at controversies in DV research. Martin Fiebert examines reasons women give for assaulting men. JAMA emergency room study shows equal number of men, woman victims.

     
         


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